Microsoft is planning to actively promote Outlook.com as an option for Hotmail users starting next week. The company will send out emails to current Hotmail members urging them to upgrade and use display-style ads to help lure in new users.
It may seem strange that Microsoft is just now getting around to actively promoting the new brand but according to Microsoft's director of product management at Outlook.com David Law, that was the plan from the get-go. He told The Verge that Redmond wanted to make sure the service was working and working well at scale before heavily recruiting new users.
It's worth pointing out that Microsoft isn't forcing Hotmail users to upgrade, at least not yet anyway. We do know that there will be even larger marketing campaigns and changes just over the horizon in 2013, however.
Law refused to comment on whether or not Microsoft was planning to add IMAP support in a future revision, although he did acknowledge that it's something people have been asking for. When asked about support for the Mac, he said they have a bit of a good solution on the client side coming for that but stopped short of mentioning a date or if it would be a dedicated app.
Microsoft rebranded Hotmail to Outlook.com over the summer as part of an effort to revive the longstanding web-based email service and position it to better compete with Google's Gmail. We got word just a couple of weeks later that the decision was a hit among users as Microsoft announced that over 10 million people had voluntarily signed up for the new service.